During a festive concert in Amsterdam last Sunday, rising star piccoloist Ilonka Kolthof and Ralph have released their new CD Halo for the label TRPTK, for which Ilonka, through her Dutch Piccolo Project, has commissioned six composers to write new works for her and Ralph. In quite some anticipation of this release, Kolthof and Van Raat have appeared at radio shows before the release. These were followed by an excellent first review in yesterday’s Dutch national newspaper Volkskrant, praising the extreme diversity of musical characters, colors and virtuosity displayed in this recording: ‘[…] Ilonka Kolthof certainly did change the reputation of the piccolo in those 80 minutes! Kolthof never sounds shrill and she whispers with her instrument – so it is also possible this way. Her partner in crime is the unparalleled Ralph van Raat, who brings to the limelight, amongst others, Jan Vriend’s Sonata with much urgency.’
On November 7, a live recording of Daan Manneke‘s newest piano cycle Grote Archipel has been released by Zefir Records on CD and digital download. With each of the six movements written for specific befriended pianists (Geoffrey Madge, Kelvin Grout, Hannes Minnaar, Jelena Bazova and Daniël Kramer), the 80-years old composer has dedicated the first movement to Ralph. Manneke’s piano music is of a deeply spiritual character, influenced by, amongst others, Bach, Messiaen and Stravinsky. Besides this first movement, Ralph also recorded Manneke’s only two other piano works for this CD, Polychroon and Blues for Marcel, thereby completing this anthology of Daan Manneke’s complete piano music.
Yesterday evening, November 3, during a live television broadcast of well-known Dutch music program Podium Witteman, Ralph has been awarded the prestigious award ‘The Ovation 2019’, a classical music prize which is awarded on behalf of the ‘Association of Dutch Concert Hall Directors (VSCD)’ to a musician, ensemble or orchestra who/which has delivered a most distinctive stage performance, and who contributes in an important way to classical music in The Netherlands. The prize consists of a sculpture by artist Iris Le Rütte, a placard and a concert tour.
A press release has just been sent out by the VSCD (Foundation for Theatre- and Concert Hall Directors), stating that Ralph has been nominated for the ‘Ovatie 2019’, a prize on behalf of the Dutch concert halls ‘for the ‘most impressive concert of 2019’. The other nominees are two ensembles: Amsterdam Sinfonietta in a co-production with Italian pianist Beatrice Rana and the Nederlands Blazers Ensemble (Netherlands Wind Ensemble). The final choice will be announced in November.
Ralph is a featured pianist in this month’s PianoNews magazine. The interview was done by Dr. Robert Nemecek, during which they discussed mainly the new upcoming CD on Naxos, with unknown works by Debussy, Ravel, Messiaen and Boulez.
Last August, Ralph has recorded a new CD with one of the most original and successful flutists of today, Ilonka Kolthof. Focussing on the newest and most varied repertoire for the piccolo and piano, they recorded works which were all written on behalf of Kolthof’s Dutch Piccolo Project. Many of the works were written for the duo by composers Alan Segall, Ned McGowan, Bart Spaan, Jan Vriend, Piet-Jan van Rossum and Jan-Peter de Graaff, representing both older and the youngest generations of composers. The CD will be released by recording label TRPTK on November 24, 2019, at the official CD launch party in the Amstelkerk, Amsterdam, on that day (picture: Brendon Heinst).
Last month, the master-recording for Ralph’s upcoming solo-CD with rare works by Debussy, Ravel, Messiaen and Boulez has been sent to Naxos’ headquarters in Hong Kong! The release date is May 2020. This is one of the most exciting recordings Ralph has made for Naxos to date, because it contains seldomly heard compositions, recently discovered works, and a world’s first ever recording. A highlight is the large, early work by Pierre Boulez: Prélude, Toccata et Scherzo. Exclusively permitted to play and record for Naxos by the heirs of Pierre Boulez and the Sacher Foundation in Basel, this almost half-hour work looks back on virtuosic Romantic music, but at the same time looks forward to the new composition styles which Boulez would start to use shortly afterwards. The CD also contains hardly known works by composers who inspired Boulez the most, such as a posthumously discovered piano study by Debussy, a posthumously reconstructed birdsong work by Messiaen, and a very little gem by Ravel, found in a notebook, which forms a fingerprint of his mature musical language.
Today, an article about composer Louis Andriessen is published in Dutch newspaper Trouw, for which Ralph was interviewed. Coming Thursday, between 12.30 and 13.00 h, Ralph will be a guest at radioshow De Nieuws BV, Radio 1, also to be interviewed about Louis Andriessen who celebrates his 80th birthday this year. From coming Friday, Ralph will perform a number of concerts with a selection of Andriessen’s piano works, in combination with the piano solo version of Stravinsky’s Rite of Spring.
Today, an interview with Ralph is published in the New York Times. For this interview, journalist Seth Colter Walls and Ralph talked about the recently unveiled piano work by Pierre Boulez, of which Ralph gave the world’s first performance.